The Moment Kamala Harris Shut Down Mike Pence

The vice presidential debates aren't always exciting, nor are they always fun to watch. But every now and then a debate comes along that delivers on a line we aren't likely to forget. Such was the 2012 debate between then Vice President Joe Biden and his Republican opponent Paul Ryan, when Biden memorably dismissed Ryan's claims by saying, "That's a bunch of malarkey," which The Washington Post says is one of Biden's his favorite words.

The 2020 vice presidential debates are likely going to be no different, thanks in part to moderator Susan Page's inability to rein in the vice president, who consistently talked over both her and his opponent, leading author Jill Filipovic to tweet: "Every woman knows that condescending sexist man who repeatedly calls you by your name as a way to be disdainful and patronizing when he's talking to you and I don't know what the term for that is but it is A Thing and Mike Pence is doing it to Susan Page."

So while Kamala Harris made history by stepping onto the debate stage as the first Black and South Asian woman to be chosen as a major party's running mate, it was also was left to Harris to deliver what had become a refrain throughout the 90-minute debate, and which could also well become the slogan for the campaign's next T-shirt: "Mr. Vice President, I'm speaking" (via CNN).

Social media's response to Kamala Harris was divided along party lines

The line came up several times over the course of the debate: When Harris talked about the government's response to COVID-19, which has killed more than 200,000 so far. Or when she tried to defend her team's tax platform (via CNN). The message was so powerful it resonated with women across the Twitterverse. One women's organization tweeted: "We've all been there. #KamalaHarris" with a photo of the vice presidential hopeful and the quote "I'm speaking."

Social media was divided along political lines, as many parts of the country appear to be these days. One critic tweeted: "The best part of Harris' pre-planned 'I'm speaking!' routine is that it was so obviously pre-planned. She is the most rehearsed, robotic, obviously insincere politician in America." Another person who claimed to be a conservative supporter tweeted (while misspelling Pence's name): "Harris told so many lies. Used the arrogant nasal tone. Pense was brilliant. Pense smoked her out in every way. Her making faces and snarky remarks. Pense brought out the radical side of Harris. Good job Pense." A third Twitter user posted: "Watching @FoxNews saying that @KamalaHarris is abrasive and condescending. They didn't like her faces. They thought she was too mean to poor Pence. Enough with the biased coverage. Cover policy not personality. #WeHaveHerBack."

Kamala Harris' supporters applauded her performance

But Harris supporters didn't feel the same way. One Twitter user posted: "Listen. The amount of mind Olympics Kamala has to do to not come across as angry, emotional, combative but also be firm, warm, honest, direct ... all while this mf'er is straight up lying and gaslighting her. Whew. The strength and the talent of Black women." Another Harris fan, taking note of Pence's debate behavior toward Harris added: "Lying, gaslighting, and not shutting the F up when it's someone else's turn to speak. Professional women of every color will remember these bits." And another user responded: "As a black woman, all of this is triggering to watch. Both Susan Page and Mike Pence disrespecting Harris's time. Watch whiteness and the patriarchy work. #VPDebate"

Mike Pence may have alienated women voters

Even among messages of support for Trump and Pence, there was one who pointed out how Pence could have debated in a better way. "Most women have had it with rude men who talk over other women. Impolite behavior is something to be avoided. It isn't a selling point. It seems I see many talking about how much he interrupted, lied and failed to answer questions. He could have been better," she tweeted.

It is interesting to note that, according to CBS' Ed O'Keefe, "Per our @CBSNews count tonight, VP @Mike_Pence interrupted Sen. @KamalaHarris 10 times. She interrupted the five times. [Tallied by vocal interruptions from each candidate]" (via Twitter).

What did a man have to say about all this? Historian and Princeton University professor of history Kevin Kruse tweeted: "If the Trump campaign is really seeking to win over suburban women, I'm not sure an hour and a half of Mike Pence continuing to talk over a woman in authority who's politely asking him to stop talking is going to do that job."